Rock You Like a Hurricane
Congressman Pete King was not pleased with his fellow Republicans who opposed the federal Hurricane Sandy relief package. Accordingly, Mr. King told us he was shocked to learn that Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who’s widely seen as a potential 2016 presidential contender, has been raising cash on Wall Street after voting against the Sandy bill.
“Being from New York we’re not supposed to be suckers,” Mr. King told Politicker this morning. “It’s bad enough that these guys voted against it, that’s inexcusable enough. But to have the balls to come in and say, ‘We screwed you now make us president?’”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who previously declined to slam House Speaker John Boehner over Congress’ stalled Hurricane Sandy aid, took his argument to the next level this morning and suggested federal lawmakers are partially to blame for the delay in the vote on the package because they insert “things that are totally extraneous” into bills such as this. Although Mr. Bloomberg didn’t specify the extraneous problem items, the legislation has been criticized by Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan for being “packed with funding for unrelated items, such as commercial fisheries in American Samoa and roof repair of museums in Washington, D.C.”
“There’s this ‘Christmas Tree effect’ where legislators put in their favorite bills and tack them onto something. The [Obama] administration does that, that’s why you have an omnibus bill–to force everybody to vote for things that would never stand up in the light of day if they were individual,” Mr. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “I’m sympathetic. Yelling and screaming at [Mr. Boehner] is just not my style. It may be effective, it may not be. Everybody’s got to make their own decisions. I think the legislative leaders who criticize and those in the Legislature should stop and think, they do exactly the same thing in terms of ladling on things that are totally extraneous but it’s the only way they get them through.”
Governor Chris Christie is angry.
In addition to a statement blasted out earlier today, New Jersey’s outspoken governor held a press conference this afternoon where he said Speaker John Boehner’s sudden decision to halt a vote on the Hurricane Sandy relief package exemplifies “why the American people hate Congress.”
“Thirty-one days for Andrew victims. Seventeen days for victims of Gustav and Ike. Ten days for victims of Katrina,” Mr. Christie said, ticking off how long it took for Congress to pass relief after other natural disasters. “For the victims of Sandy in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, there’s been sixty-six days and the wait continues. There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House Majority and their speaker, John Boehner….Last night, politics was placed before our oath to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”
Unsurprisingly, the governors of the two states most ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, New Yorker’s Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey’s Chris Christie, are not pleased with the Republican leadership in House of Representatives after they decided to not take up relief legislation last night. To emphasize their displeasure, the two released a joint statement criticizing the chamber for the move.
“With all that New York and New Jersey and our millions of residents and small businesses have suffered and endured, this continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives is inexcusable,” they said.
nonprofits on notice
In the wake of the House of Representatives’ failed vote on Hurricane Sandy relief, Congressman Pete King has gone rogue.
“These Republicans have no problem finding New York when they’re out raising millions of dollars,” Mr. King said on Fox News this morning. “They’re in New York all the time filling their pockets with money from New Yorkers. I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds. Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is keeping an eye on the assorted charities raising money for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. In a statement released today, Mr. Schneiderman announced he sent a letter to 75 Sandy-focused nonprofits requesting information on their fundraising and spending activities, which he intends to post online.
“Our office commends all of the charities, and their volunteers and donors, who have come to the assistance of New Yorkers after Hurricane Sandy,” Mr. Schneiderman said in the press release. “In light of the importance of the recovery efforts, and the enormous amount of money raised in such a short period of time, it is critical that donors know where their money is going, and that funds are spent responsibly. In the name of transparency and accountability, we must ensure that funds raised for Hurricane Sandy relief are used for that purpose.”
Earlier today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg formally petitioned the federal government for billions of dollars in financial assistance to help cover the costs incurred from the fatal winds and storm surge that came with Hurricane Sandy last month. However, when he was asked about the request at the end of an unrelated press conference today, Mr. Bloomberg sounded skeptical that he’d get what he asked for.
“I’m always optimistic,” he said this afternoon. “I always believe that we’re going to win. I still think we’re going to get that stadium on the West Side. I still think that we’re going to get the 2012 Olympics. I’m always an optimist and never give in.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, properties throughout the city’s flooded neighborhoods saw critical infrastructure collapse along with everything else in the storm’s path. However, four weeks after the storm Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t interested in hearing any more excuses from landlords who haven’t restored heat and electricity. At a press conference this afternoon, he announced these landlords will face “enforcement proceedings” should these critical services remain absent from their properties.
“I won’t even take this question,” Mr. Bloomberg at an afternoon press conference when asked what these proceedings will entail. “We’re expecting everybody to cooperate. This is New York, I’m sure there’s going to be somebody who doesn’t and then we’re going to worry about it. You have an obligation to maintain your rental units in a safe manner. If you don’t, you’re breaking the law.”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a likely mayoral candidate in 2013, can now be counted as a firm critic of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s handling of Hurricane Sandy.
“You remember the recent diplomatic phrase, ‘leading from behind,’” Mr. de Blasio mused on Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s radio show last night. “I think many times the mayor was not exactly on the front line. He was no Chris Christie, let’s say that.”
Senator Chuck Schumer is known for pushing populist issues that may have otherwise flown under the radar, and last weekend, he didn’t disappoint. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission last weekend, Mr. Schumer called on the agency to develop a nationwide plan to improve cell phone service in the aftermath of natural disasters. Earlier today, Mr. Schumer announced the FCC would at least give the New York area a better look by holding field hearings early next year on the issue.
“Field hearings will increase our understanding of the problems encountered during Superstorm Sandy and harvest the best ideas to ensure that mobile phone service doesn’t fail after future storms,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement. “Mobile communication has become an essential part of our lives, and increasing its reliability must be a top priority. I’d like to thank Chairman Genachowski and the FCC for their good work during the storm, and for beginning to tackle this important issue so quickly after.”